Language Register in Dried Fish Preservation in Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines


There are varieties of languages, some of these varieties are categorized according to speaker’s class, geographical location, work, etc. Register is a variety of language that has three dimensions: tenor, field and mode. This study aims to collect the register of language in Fish Preservation in Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines. The researcher lived for two weeks with the natives in Calatagan, Batangas to collect words used, starting from the preparation of the fishermen on their fishing materials, catching fishes, process in fish preservation and selling the products to the market. Twenty five percent of the fish in the province came from Calatagan. “Kuyog” (siganus canaliculatus or Lo canaliculatus) is the species of fish commonly used in the fish preservation process. The wife of the fisherman is in-charge in the fish preservation process and they also sell the dried fish in the market. The researcher gathered sixty-two (62) words used by the fishermen and fish vendors in the fish preservation process. The study found out that there are specific words used starting from the creation of the fish net and boat, catching of fish up to the process of fish preservation and fish selling. The researcher recommended to make more research in language register in different domains.

Keywords: Societylanguage registerBatangasdried fish preservationkuyog


“As we accept our language, we became part of the society and

create a unity on the people on belong society”

-Bienvenido Lumbera, Philippines National Artist for Literature

To be accepted and understood by the society is like the way of accepting and understanding language. Language shapes a society. People used language to effectively express their ideas, feelings, thoughts, emotions and beliefs to the group they belong. According to Rangriz and Harati (2017), many categories of usage to express our thought where language can provide, therefore, we can assume that our language is connected with the way we think. In every country, values and customs shape the peoples thinking in a certain way. Unity can easily achieve using accurate language by considering the time, situation, person and place. In this sense, language is not only knowledge that should be learned but also the application skills in a certain social practice to become a significant part of a society. It is not enough for an individual to know denotative meaning of words instead he must also look on cultural and social usage to use language effectively. The formation of a word has an arbitrary connection to what it means, the relation is on the form and the cultural meaning of every society (Dingemanse et al., 2015).

Language in a cultural context creates meaning and interpretation. Language gives forms, expresses at passes cultures in different generation. According to Damen as cited by Pourkalhor and Esfandiari (2017), language serves as the vehicle for the culture in order to be transmitted, language reflects form and meaning of ever culture. for example, the culture of creating poems during early civilizations up to the modern times was successfully passed at still enriching. Traditions as well creates new forms in the poems patronizes by the youth, it is what we call now the Spoken Words Poetry.

Countries have its own language. Language makes a country. Every citizen has mother tongue or first language. The mother tongue is the first language used at home and it is also the basis of sociolinguistic identity. We have this 2nd language that can be gained in a new linguistic community in school, work etc. Ochs and Schieffelin (2017) discussed that language is a strong semiotic instrument that tied place and situation the collective and individual identities and also the ideas and belief. Along with the language is the culture, the two is always inseparable. Every language can be expressed, in verbal and non-verbal way and can be identified and understood by the receiver according to his/her culture. According to Yule (2016), there is cultural schemata that shows the cultural meaning of experiences in different aspects. Like for example, an Australian admin said “You have five days off. What are you going to do on holiday?”. The latter understand this as firing him at work rather than its holiday. In other words, there is a good intension from the speaker but because of the misleading interpretation of the receiver according to their “cultural schemata”. According to Mazari and Derraz (2016), three components of language and culture : (1) relationship between cultural phenomena and language can easily be understand, (2) learning the language gives similarities and differences on mother tongue and foreign language, (3) culture of other society can also be learn upon learning their language.

There are varieties of language. Some of the varieties can be identified through the speaker’s region, class, work or occupation. According to Gregory and Carroll (2018), major function of language to see the variety of language like content, inter-action and texture. Dialect is one of the language varieties. It is the language used of the group in certain location or region. In the study conducted by Bonifield et al. (2017), she found out that listener’s home dialect and dialect familiarity, possibly through media exposure, shape perceptual representation of regional dialects. Example, the Tagalogs use in Batangas and Mindoro are different, but they understand both as well. According to Rubrico (2018), this is call regional variation of Tagalog dialect. This variation can be seen the words or phrases. On the other hand, sociolect which is also a variety of language, tells the social status of speaker. Sociolect can be seen according to age, gender and social status. Professionals like doctors, teachers, engineers and other professions have particular sociolect used. Mode of production plays an essential role for the grouping of registers in the two languages separately and also across languages.

Another variety of language is register. The different forms of language according to its kind and the theme of the information, from the listener or to the person you are talking. According to Eaton (2014), language register is the level of formality in the conversation. The different situations and needs of the speaker have its own kind in the language register. Example, in the academic writing there is a need of formal writing. Priest, lawyer, doctor, teachers and other professions use formal register while if a person is talking with his/her friends, family members during meal, informal language register is being used. According to Keller (2018), the level of formality in a spoken language is the term refer to spoken register. The particular purpose of the speaker also belongs in this variety. In short, the level of formality and context in every situation affects the spoken register.

Eaton (2014) discussed that there are five kinds of English language register: (1)static register, cannot be changed throughout the years and its form like the verses in the bible, (2) formal register used in academic, technical and professional communication, (3)consultative register is also a formal register as but it is used in normal daily conversation. Example, a doctor to his patient or a teacher to her students, (4) casual register is a language slang or may compare with the “balbal”, (5) intimate register is a language used by lovers or in relationship.

This research is anchored in Model of Register by Halliday. According to Halliday et al. (2014) meaning using the conceptual and theoretical framework through the terminologies: mode, tenor and field.

Halliday et al. (2014) first used the term register in her paper “The Uses and the Users of Language”. Halliday added that “register” tried to sum up the overall principle of variation to understand the situation based from the linguistic characteristics.

Problem Statement

This research aims to collect register the language used on the process of dried fish preservation in Calatagan, Batangas. Calatagan is one of town in Batangas that provides twenty five percent (25%) of fish in the province of Batangas. According to the data from the official website of Municipality of Calatagan, one fisherman can catch nine (9) kilos of fish every day but this is uncertain because there are fishermen using dynamite which has large effects in every fisherman in the town ( Kuyog (siganus canaliculatus or Lo canaliculatus) is one of the commonly fish caught by the fisherman in Calatagan particularly in Poblacion I. Kuyog is commonly preserved by drying it under the heat of the sun by fishermen’s wives, they bring the preserved fish to the to the market and sell it.

Fish preservation in Calatagan, Batangas has a rich culture and the researcher would like to explore this field. Language and culture are always intertwined. Culture can be passed to next generation through language. Culture of early Filipino civilizations were documented in pots and jars. The famous Calatagan pot that has been found in Talisay, Calatagan, Batangas is one of the best evidences of culture of this early civilization. According to Guillermo and Diliman (2008), a unique artifact with an inscription around Calatagan pot shoulder was discovered in the late 1950s in conjunction with comprehensive archaeological diggings in Calatagan, Batangas. Same as these thoughts, the researcher would like to show the connection between language and culture in Calatagan, Batangas.

Research Questions

This research answered by the following questions:

1.What are the language registers of the process in fish preservation in Calatagan, Batangas?

2.What are the meanings, part of speech, pronunciation in Filipino of the gathered language registers?

Purpose of the Study

This paper explored the rich culture of Calatagan which focused the language aspect. Every language register gathered signified the culture of living of the people involved in fish preservation. The language registers gathered by the researcher will be presented to the municipal government so that the government officials will be aware on the way of living of fishermen and fish vendors under their municipality. If the local government will be aware, can give more assistance and create programs that will enhance the endeavour of fishermen and fish vendors to enhance their craft.

Research Methods

This study used qualitative research. The qualitive study, seeks to understand the world he/she is in from its experience. Traditional way of gathering data is used. According to Pe-Pua (1989), there are different characteristics “pagtatanong-tanong” or interview: (1) giving attention to informants, (2) equal status of the researcher and informants, (3) integration with other tradition research methods. The relationship between researchers and informants have great influence on the quality of the gathered data. The culture of sensitivity, ethics and validation were also considered.

The researcher of the study lived with the fishermen and fish vendors for 2 weeks. While they were living with them, they listed words used in every phase of the fish preservation. She also conducted an interview to the oldest fisherman, different leaders of organization in the place. It is a method which there is a direct interaction between the researchers and participants. The interviewers used verbal techniques.

As a guide, the researcher used an interview guide to assure that the questions asked were meaningful and informative and to avoid confusions to the informant. An interview guide is a list of questions used by the researcher and the questions are aligned with purpose this research.

For the reliability of the gathered data and information are correct, the researcher asked permission from the informants if they can use electronic materials such as “sound recorder” or “video” and non-electronic equipment such as paper and ballpen for the so-called note taking. This type of gathering information has been effective for the study.


After gathering information through interviews. The collected language register was organized and interpreted:

Each word gathered has the following:

1. Pronunciation

The researcher used guidelines by Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. It has three markers according to each way of pronunciation: (1) pahilis (‘), no glottal stop, (2) paiwa (`), slow with glottal stop, and (3) pakupya (^), fast with glottal stop.

2.Part of speech

Each part of speech is shortened and given a corresponding sign.

2.a noun- n

2.b pronoun- p

2.c. verb- v

2.d. adjective- adj

2.e. adverb- adv.

2.f. conjunction - c

2.g. preposition- p

3. Meaning

4. Picture

Creating the fish net

agpang- /ag.pàng/, n.- it is usually made of bamboo and measures 7-10 centimeters. tt is used to ensure that there is an equal size of holes in the net.

gamaw –/ga.máw/, n.- made of rubber, a part of a net which makes it float. It is usually white or brown in color.

lawayan- /la.wa.yàn/ n. - string that holds the gamaw and the lead

sikwan- /sik.wán/, n .– it is used in making nets. It has a small pierced part in the front part and has hole in the middle.

tingga- /ting-gâ/, n. -part of a fishing net which gives it the weight.

Figure 01 shows the fish net used by the fisherman in Calatagan, Batangas. On the upper part is the gamaw and the on the lower part. The fish net is placed on the backyard of the fisherman while they are not at sea and for them to easily remove the sea grass that has been stocked on it.

Figure 1: Fishing net
Fishing net
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Part of the fishing boat

baol -/ba.òl/, n.- the bottom part of the boat. It serves as the “base” of the boat.

batangan- /ba.ta.ngan/, n. – part of the boat that connects the katig to the body of the boat.

buhiya- /bu.hì.yá/, n.- it serves as the light of the boat.

katig- /ka.tìg/, n.- part of the boat that balances it. Usually, fishermen in Calatagan use only one katig . It is made of bamboo and can be found at the side of the boat.

ligason - /li.gá.són/, n.- part of the boat which makes baol and parka sturdy

parka - /pàr.kà/, n.- Part of the boat that is placed on the top of the baol

Figure 02 is the fishing boat used by the fisherman. Parka is on the bottom part followed by baol, lagason, batangan and katig.It is made of wood and bamboo. It has only one katig unlike common boat which has 2 katig.

Figure 2: Fishing boat
Fishing boat
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Catching, Preserving, Selling the Fish

baklad- /bak.lád/, n. – used in catching fish which is made of bonded bamboo.

bakol- /bà.kòl/, n- container of caught fish without a cover

bating- /ba.ting/, v – catching fish by only one person

biklad- /bik.lád/, v. – process of fish preservation. The fish is usually cut in half then salted and put under the sun for several days. Over time, this process has been a change in the process. Before, the fishbone remains in this process but now, they remove all of it. This is now called “boneless”

busikat- /át/, n.- container for fish that is made up of bamboo

de-kalburo- /de-kal.buró/, n.- chemical that is use to light the shade reflector to diffuse light.

deposito- /ó/, n.- connected to the shade reflector of de kalburo.

isay- /i.say/, n. –sea plant with long green leaves

galak- /ga.làk/- n. –this is the time when the kuyog lays egg. It depends upon the phase of the moon specially during full moon.

gasang- /ga.sang/, n. –sharp sea rocks

hostes- /hos.tes/, n.- large Kuyog called.

isayan- /, n. –part of the sea wherein you can find more isay

kanaw- /ka.náw/, n –. school of fish

katay- /ka.tày/, v. –way of separating dried fish in the market. Each katay have different sizes of Kuyog. According to Aling carmen, she remembered that each katay cost only for 5php before, but today the smallest size of kuyog cost 25 pesos each katay. The dried fish is separated by small metal wire and pinned it through the eyes.

kati- /ka.tì/, n. –Low tide. During kati the tradional way of catching kuyog happens. According to Aling Carmen, the oldest fish vendor and the one who dried the fish, throwing sands in the shallow part of sea during kati younare able to catch kuyog. Easiest time of catching kuyog is during kati.

katihan- /ka.ti.hàn/, n- part of the sea that is shallow. Mang Ben catches more during katihan.

kusi- /, v. –process on how to remove the fish bone, intestine and cleaning the fish.

kuliman- /án/- n. -used in fishing at night.

kuyog- /ku.yóg/, n.- siganus canaliculatus- main fish found in Brgy.1 Calatagan, Batangas, with thin flesh but without scales that is suited for drying fish.

kuyog na kwago- /ku.yóg na kwa.go/, n.- kind of kuyog with circular body and with spots.

kuyog na tilos- /ku.yóg na ti.los/, n.- another kind of kuyog with pointed body. It is usually found in Calatagan.

labunusan- /án/, n. –part of the sea with soft, weedy and muddy.

lambangin- /ìn/, n- another kind of fish except kuyog.

maantak- /ák/, adj. –painful

magtikin – /mag.ti.kin/ v.- way of running the boat using the tikin.

malaawoy- /à.woy/, adj.- condition of dried kuyog wherein slightly wet and unadequate exposed under the sun.

padala- /pa.da.là/, v. - way of fishing wherein no need to ride in a boat to fish.

pagerper- /pa.ger.per/, n.- term that is use for small kuyog.

palakaya- /á.yà/, v. - catching of fish the wholeday

pali- /pa.lî/, n. –undeveloped eggs of kuyog found in their stomach

pandaw- /pan.dáw/, v. –look at the guard if it has caught.

pamusod- /pa.mú.sód/, n. –long metal twine at the end, use d to poke in fish eyes. It is us e to carry.easily

pantalya - /pan.tal.yá/, n.- traditional light used at night during fishing

panti- /pan.tí/, v.–another term in catching fish.

paspas- /pas.pás/, v.- this is done if the fishermen is fishing alone , using a bamboo stick to waken the fish.

pindang- /pin.dáng/, v.– another term for drying up fish.

salmohera- /sal.mò.he.rá/, n.- water with salt. After you removed the fishbone you have to soak it with salt and water.

SAMACA (Samahan ng Artisanong Mangingisda sa Calatagan)- Active group of fishermen in Calatagan. According to Rhodora Solver, head of SAMACA in Brgy. 1, the group is composed of 2000 fisherman in the wholentown of calatagan. Sitio Rodriguez is one of the top producers of dried fish kuyog composing of 40 families. Mang Jaime Atienza, one of the members and fisherman said that they sell the fish in the market with her wife and this will pass on to their children. From 2016 to 2017 years where they earn fruitfully with 1000 daily as their sales. These years they can caught 30 kgs in a night fishing but from 2018 fishing is a hard thing to do. According to Mang Jaime, as time goes by the sizes of net changes as time because of the increasing number of fishermen. It starts in 10cm and changes into 7cm because the fish can escape on it.

Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Barangay Uno- Another group of fishermen but smaller than SAMACA. According the the organization president, Ronalyn Limoico of the organization said that it began in the year 2007 through the effort of Junior Limoico. Now, they were 18 members. Fifty pesos (P50) monthly dues for each member but later on stopped the collection because of the support from the students of Ateneo de Manila who lived with them. There is Casa Bayanihan, a non-government organization as well that supports the said group.

sawang- /sà.wang/, n - in depth part of the sea wherein the way of ship.

taknid- /tak.níd/, v. way of catching fish that wherein the net is permanently put on the way of the fish

tangkulan- /tang.ku.lán/, n. -endpoint of the sea, this is in between of sawang or katihan.

taog- /tà.og/, n. - hightide

tikin - /ti.kín/, n. –made up of bamboo that is usually placed together with a boat to move , it can be a tool like paddle. It is usually 10ft long.

timbog - /tim.bóg/, n.- It is use to awaken the fish so that they can move inside the net. It is used like shedding off rice plant.

magtimbog – /mag.tim.bog/, v.- this is the way to use the timbog..

tuktok- /tuk.tók/, n - tool of creating noise in the boat so that the fish can move freely and go out of their hiding corals

magtuktok- /mag.tuk.tok/, v – way of using tuktok

Figure 03 is the fish the is commonly used in fish preservation. It is locally called kuyog , its scientific name is siganus canaliculatus and called rabbit fisg in English. It has thin flesh and less scales which is perfect for preservation the process of preserving this fish can be done with just a day after drying under the heat of the sun.

Figure 3: Kuyog or Rabbit fish (Siganus canaliculatus)
Kuyog or Rabbit fish (Siganus canaliculatus)
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After conducting the study in, the researcher concluded that fishermen, fish vendor and all the individual involved in the fish preservation have their unique language in every phases of fish preservation. Sixty-two (62) words were collected from creation of the fishing boat, fishnet and the process itself.In every occupation there is always language that reflects its unique culture), The relationship between language and culture is undeniably present every time. The verbal expression of culture is language, (Khatib,,2016). Preserving culture also mean preserving of language. This paper is limited only on the language register in fish preservation in Calatagan, Batangas. This may serve as basis for other language researcher to conduct study about language register in another domain.


The researcher would like to acknowledge the active participation of fishermen and fish vendors in Calatagan, Batangas. She would also like to thank her professors in De La Salle University-Dasmarinas for engaging her to this research.


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12 October 2020

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Cite this article as:

Hernandez, T. A. (2020). Language Register in Dried Fish Preservation in Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines. In N. Samat, J. Sulong, M. Pourya Asl, P. Keikhosrokiani, Y. Azam, & S. T. K. Leng (Eds.), Innovation and Transformation in Humanities for a Sustainable Tomorrow, vol 89. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 412-421). European Publisher.